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22 JUNE 2018

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Broner Dazzles And Stops Rees In Five

Broner takes it to Rees
Broner takes it to Rees

By Jason Pribila ringside in Atlantic City: The last time HBO Boxing aired a 40-1 underdog opposite of the NBA’s All Star weekend, Buster Douglas shocked the world by knocking out Mike Tyson. On this night we had Gavin Rees of Wales attempting to upset the Adrien Broner apple cart.


Leading up to the fight Broner gave Rees little respect. He often called the challenger to his lightweight title a “midget”. This is apparently acceptable behavior when someone that stands at 5’7” is able to tower over his opponent.


Rees came out channeling his inner “Buster” for the opening round, at least. Broner seemed amused by his foe’s willingness to trade, but soon began measuring and countering him in the second.


The third round of a fun and quickly moving fight featured the two trying to show each other up. Matters turned serious when Broner trapped Rees against the ropes. A little opening, and Broner barged through it with a sizzling combination.


In round four Broner alerted the ringside press (specifically me) that they can’t glance at their pc’s or they will miss a knockdown. I’m told it was a right hook that sent Rees to the canvas.


Between rounds trainer Gary Lockett (the same Lockett that became acquainted with the Boardwalk Hall canvas when he challenged Kelly Pavlik for middleweight gold) was close to stopping the fight. Rees convinced him to continue.


As the fifth began, Rees was charging head first into Broner’s leather. The tough as nails Rees pointed at his chin, and the standing crowd roared in approval. Broner delivered a shot to the liver and dropped Rees to a knee. The end was near and another Broner flurry was enough to cause the towel to be thrown from Rees corner.


The fight was waved off at 2:09 of the fifth.


As Broner’s fans and detractors know, the show isn’t over when the bell rings. When asked who was next during his post-fight interview, Broner again reminded HBO’s Max Kellerman that anyone who wants it “can get it”.


After Broner described the action of the bout, Kellerman rattled off the number of punches he throws well. He then asked Broner what is best shot was. On cue, Broner said, “When I take a picture”.


And like a flash, another Broner visit to Atlantic City was history. Over one million people watched his masterful performance in November against Antonio DeMarco. His return bout saw an increase in attendance, with the official number being announced at 4,812.


The more Broner performs like he has on back to back visits to the Boardwalk, expect those numbers to escalate. In the meantime, everyone can sit back and play fantasy matchmaker, and determine who will be the next prize fighter with a “Problem”.



Broner smiles beofore work
Broner smiles beofore work
Broner towers over Rees
Broner towers over Rees


The last time Adrien Broner’s name was on the Boardwalk Hall marquee he had the support of a heavyweight bout between Seth Mitchell and Jonathan Banks.  If not for Broner’s dazzling effort in the main event, the boxing world would have been buzzing about Banks’ surprising KO2 upset over the previously undefeated Mitchell.


The rematch was scheduled for this evening, but was scrapped when Banks broke a thumb in sparring.  Philadelphia heavyweight Bryant Jennings offered to step in, but Golden Boy decided to elevate a fight that was already on the card.  HBO gave the green light and subscribers were treated a bout between known vs unknown.


The known of course was tough as nails Sakio Bika, a tough out for anyone, but a fighter whose limitations are exposed by only the elite.  Across the ring was an unknown from Budva, Montenegro, Nikola Sjekloca.  The bout was a 12-round eliminator for Andre Ward’s IBF title.


From the onset Bika made it a rough fight ripping uppercuts to Sjekloca’s body.  Wild right hands thrown with bad intentions were missing, but not by much.


In the fourth Sjekloca threw a right and moved his head to the left right where Bika countered with a right hand.  The big shot buckled Sjekloca and Bika poured on the offense.  Bika landed plenty of thudding blows, but Sjekloca survived the round.


Between rounds Sjekloca’s trainer began fanning his charge with his towel.  I can’t imagine this did much under the hot lights other than to let everyone know that Sjekloca was fading.


Round seven was fought in a phone booth.  And by round eight it became a question as to whether or not the fight would go the distance.


The answer was an unenthusiastic “yes”.  Sjekloca fought until the final bell, many of which were close rounds, but in the end it was Bika who earned the unanimous decision by scores of:  119-109, 118-112, and 120 – 108.


Bika will now become the mandatory to face Ward, but I doubt that fight will take place.  Ward already soundly beat Bika and he would seem more likely to vacate than take a fight that would do little for his bank account or legacy.


Bika improved to (31-5-2, 21 KO) as Sjekloca fell to (25-1, 7 KO).


Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He could be reached for questions or comments at and followed on Twitter @PribsBoxing.


February 16, 2013

Bika on the attack
Bika on the attack
Bika is champ
Bika is champ

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